Isaac Newton fell asleep while sitting under an apple tree. He was awakened by a falling apple hitting his head. From this, he discovered the Law of Gravity:
(<— courtesy of Wikipedia)
As the famous NBA star Michael Jordan once may have said, “You can fool gravity for a while, but gravity always wins.” ”Ahhhh!” you may be thinking, but what about all those things we put in orbit, ehhhhhh? Simply extend your time horizon, and remember that the Earth’s gravitational field is not the only one. Gravity will win.
So what is this doing on my blog? This supposed to be about politics! People aren’t apples, the Law of Gravity doesn’t control elections Well, yes it will. Things will be what they will be, people will do what they will do, that has not and will not change. The Executive may propose and the Legislative can pass any law whatsoever, but they cannot and will not change the law of unintended consequences. To paraphrase a line from Jurassic Park, people will find a way.
If there is something that people want, and you make it more available to them, for less money or no money, they will use and expect more of it. If you spend more money than you bring in, you will use up your reserves, then you will have to borrow, then you will perhaps have to resort to forgery. But in the end you cannot continue to spend more than you bring in. If you think that others will treat you well, in ways that are contrary to their own self-interest, simply because you are a good person and they respect and like you, then disappointment and frustration will ensue (in the end, people and cultures always act in their own perceived self-interest).
We have been living as though none of this applies any longer. Folks, we are deceiving ourselves. We inherited a staggering treasure, the greatest the world had ever seen, from our parents. We inherited it, we have done nothing to steward it. Instead, we have squandered it foolishly. Until now we are left to live on credit or worse.
We all see the promise of our Nation slipping away, that is in the face of every citizen and every commentator. Yet we turn to our officials to tell us there is any easy way out. There is no easy way out. The debates going on now on how to finance existing programs and pay for new programs are the barest glimmer of the beginning of the problem.
In 1965 we could finance The Great Society because of two factors. One, the almost boundless wealth of our Nation. And two, because of a perception that societal pressures (family, community) would guide those who received aid back toward self-sufficiency. Both are gone today. Our wealth is a dream, we are now arguably the poorest Nation on Earth (but, heh, living well on Dad’s credit card!). And self-sufficiency is no longer even seen as a virtue, it is viewed as an undesirable relic of an earlier, coarser age.
You can fool gravity for a while, but in the end gravity always wins.